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Protect Your Garage Door from Being Hacked

Protect Your Garage Door from Being Hacked

The security of your home extends far beyond locks and keys. That means even your garage door is susceptible to cyber threats. However, that does not mean you don’t have ways to protect yourself and your home. We are going to give you practical steps you can take to safeguard your garage doors from being hacked.

Fixed Code Technology and Its Vulnerabilities 

Fixed code garage door openers were the manufacturers’ first attempt to increase garage door security. Garage door openers use radio waves to function and operate at 300-400 megahertz (MHz) frequency. Unlike the radio waves used to send songs and spoken word to our car radios and home stereo systems, people don’t need a license to use garage door radio waves. This is what allowed thieves to open people’s garage doors with ease early on. Fixed code garage doors helped make it a little trickier.

Fixed code garage door openers, or dip switch garage door openers, use eight to 12 little switches inside the opener and the remote to set a code. Users set the code by sliding these dip switches into the up or down position. 

How Hackers Break Into Fix-Coded Garage Doors

The first way a garage door could be hacked is the brute force technique. With fixed codes, hackers can overwhelm the system with as many combinations as possible. Eventually, they will find the correct one that opens the door. With short passwords, like fixed codes, the brute force technique can be used rather quickly to gain access.

The Second is a device called OpenSesame. OpenSesame is a device that can wirelessly open virtually any fixed-code garage door. It uses a IM-ME messaging device to identify the correct code in under 10 seconds. 

Rolling Code Technology 

To reduce the risk of being hacked, most garage door openers now use rolling codes. Rolling code uses a proprietary coding system that selects a new code from billions of possible combinations each time the system is activated. 

Can Rolling Code Openers Still Be Hacked?

Thieves have found ways past even rolling code openers. Technology can increase security in our daily lives, but thieves can use their own technology to find ways around security features. Criminals can exploit rolling security features by using a code-jamming device known as a rolljam.

All they have to do is hide the rolljam near someone’s garage door and wait for the right moment, like the code grabbers of the past. When a homeowner presses their remote, the rolljam intercepts and stores the code. The homeowner then presses their remote a second time, generating a second code to open the garage door. The criminal can return to your house later and use the first stored code to access your garage.

Prevention From Being Hacked

As long as there is technology in our lives, there will always be bad actors looking to hack that technology. Here are some tips to help you prevent your garage door from being hacked. 

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

The first line of defense against hacking is to secure your wireless network and any associated apps with strong, unique passwords. Avoid common passwords and include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Regularly changing your passwords can also help thwart would-be hackers.

Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network

Your garage door’s security is only as strong as your home Wi-Fi network. Ensure your router is using WPA3 encryption, the latest security standard. Additionally, hide your Wi-Fi network from public view and disable remote management features to minimize external access points.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Many smart garage door systems now offer two-factor authentication (2FA). This requires a second form of verification beyond just a password, such as a code sent to your smartphone. Enabling 2FA adds an extra layer of security, making it significantly harder for unauthorized users to gain access.

The myQ Smartphone App

LiftMaster created myQ technology as the latest security feature for smart garage door openers. With the myQ app, you can control your garage door from anywhere. You’ll receive a notification when someone uses your garage door. You can even customize who has access to your garage door at specific times of the day. It’s the perfect fit for you if you already enjoy the benefits of smart technology in your home.

Regularly Update Your System

Manufacturers often release software updates to address security vulnerabilities. Regularly updating your garage door opener’s firmware can protect you against known exploits. Enable automatic updates if available, or regularly check the manufacturer’s website for updates

Conclusion 

Securing your garage door from hackers requires a combination of technological savvy and common sense. By taking proactive steps such as using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, updating your system, and securing your home network, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Spectrum Overhead Door in Houston is committed to helping you protect your home by providing the latest in garage door technology by installing the latest garage door openers and offering expert advice on maintaining your garage door’s security. Remember, the safety of your home starts with securing its entry points. Let’s ensure your garage door is not the weakest link.

Garage Door Cold Weather Maintenance

Garage Door Cold Weather Maintenance

Winter can have some damaging effects on a home. Pipes breaking, gutters clogging and breaking and the same can be said for garage doors.  The winter can play havoc with anything metal or water especially. That includes parts of your garage door. This is something lots of Houstonians saw during the freeze in February 2021. So for this winter, we are going to share with you some tips on garage door cold weather maintenance tips to help you prepare and maintain your garage door this winter.

Your Garage Door Springs.

When the steel in your garage door springs gets cold, it can contract. Being more rigid and fragile, if they are old and rusted, the cold weather may have caused the garage door’s springs to break.  It is always a good idea to inspect your springs for rust and keep them lubricated.

Garage Door Rollers

You should check your garage door rollers a couple of times in a year. You want to check to ensure they’re not worn, cracked or chipped. If any of them are, you will need to replace them. You can order garage door rollers here.

Garage Door Seal.

Your garage door seal keeps away water and any critters that may want to cozy up in a warm garage. Check to make sure your garage seals nice and tight with the ground. Cold weather can crack old rubber, so make sure there are no real visible cracks in the garage door seal.

Your Garage Door Track.

Winter winds and rain can blow in dust and debris, making the garage door’s assentation of dissension not as smooth or can hang up altogether. Wipe away dust and debris to keep the door’s tracks clean and clear. While you are doing that, you want to check that the tracks are still aligned. As mentioned earlier, cold weather contracts metal, and this can cause a small misalignment to become a big problem.

Your External Keypad

With winter weather conditions can wreak havoc on your external keypad and drain its battery. In the fall before the weather turns cold,  replace your keypad’s battery iso you have a fresh set of batteries in your keypad during the cold weather months.

Clean Your Garage Door and Fix Any Paint Issues

Cold wet weather can make any paint or rust spots worse on the garage door. You will want to keep your garage door clean and fix any chipped paint. See our post on how to clean and fixed chipped garage door paint for more details.

Older Garage Door Openers.

If you own an older model that is upwards of 15 to 20 years old, the cold weather can make your garage door opener lag in it’s timing. Newer models are built to withstand the outside temperatures better. If your garage door opener is already starting to lag, it’s probably time to install a new garage door opener before the winter months. Spectrum Overhead Door installs garage door openers in the Houston area with award-winning service, just give us a call at 281-748-9542 to schedule an appointment.

Garage Door Tune-Up

We recommend having your garage door professionally serviced once every 2 years, to keep things in good running order. Among other things some garage doors develop over time is the need for the track and cables to be realigned, due to the settling of the house and concrete slab, especially in cold weather where metal and ground contracts.

Consider scheduling Spectrum Overhead Door LLC’s  “LUBE AND TUNE” garage door tune-up special today, and enjoy the peace of mind and security of a well-tuned garage door.

Spectrum Overhead Door is an award-winning Houston garage door repair service company located off of I-10 West. We are locally owned and operated and proud to serve Houston and surrounding areas with exceptional garage door repair and installation service. CALL 281-748-9542 or 713-557-3407  for questions or to book an appointment.

 

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How to Choose a Garage Door Opener

How to Choose a Garage Door Opener

When you get a new garage door, sometimes it makes sense to replace the opener at the same time. Other times, your garage door won’t open, and upon inspection, your garage door opener has died and needs to be replaced. Whatever the case may be, you may find yourself needing to replace your garage door opener. We put together some information on how to choose a garage door opener.

Garage Door Opener Brands

Important Garage Door Opener Features

The major manufacturers of garage door openers include LiftMaster, Chamberlain, Craftsman, Genie, Linear, Guardian, Ryobi, and Sommer. You can read online reviews to research customer satisfaction ratings on each. Chamberlain and Genie are the most commonly units sold at the Home Depot and Lowes. LiftMaster is the most common unit sold by garage door service companies and is our preferred garage door opener. 

DRIVE TYPES-

Garage door openers come in a few different drive type options: chain, screw, belt, jackshaft, and direct drive.

Chain Drive.

Chain drive openers are a good all-around affordable choice. They are strong, dependable, and not as noisy as they used to be. Chain drives use a chain pushing or pulling the trolley. The chain will need periodic lubrication.

Belt Drives.

Belt drive units are quiet and usually offer the most top-of-the-line features. They operate similar to the chain drive but using fiberglass, polyurethane, or steel-reinforced rubber belt to push or pull the trolly to open and close the garage door.

Screw Drives.

The motor rotates a threaded-steel rod which moves the trolley instead of a belt or chain.  Screw drive units require periodic greasing along the rail for smooth operation.

Jackshaft Openers.

Jackshaft openers are good for heavy-duty residential, or commercial applications. These are also known as wall-mounted openers, as they are mounted on the wall instead of overhead. These are perfect for higher ceiling garages or ones where you want to use the overhead as storage space.

Direct Drive Openers,

Not as common in the US, direct-drive openers move the garage door up and down using only the motor. The motor itself moves along a stationary chain opening and closing the door.

PICK WHAT YOU NEED-

  1. Battery Back-Up: This allows the opener to function even when the power is out. The battery power typically will operate up to 20 cycles before depleting.
  2. Wifi Operation: Liftmaster Garage Door appThe unit will connect to your home router via wifi, and allow you to access door function by use of an app. This can come in handy in order to open or close your garage door when not at home. It is also great to receive a notification sent to your cell phone whenever the door is operated.
  3. Light Options: A light will illuminate on the motor above whenever the garage door is cycled up or down. Some units have one light- facing forward, and some have two lights facing side-by-side. The newest models are now using bright LED’s that face downward and will brighten even the largest garages. If you regularly park a vehicle in the garage at night, then you should choose a unit that has enough lighting for your needs.
  4. Video Options: This last year, Liftmaster introduced a model that has integrated video camera features. It can record when your garage door opens,  and who is in your garage.
  5. Smart Wall Pad: The button inside the garage that is used to open and close the door can be a simple doorbell type, or a smart pad that boasts many more functions. Liftmaster Wall ControlSome of the additional functions include: motion sensor, time, temperature, time to close, keypad and remote programming, error code reading, and lock feature (freezes out remote controls).
  6. Rail Options: Store bought units will come with a light duty rail that is hollow in the middle and is fit together with 4 to 5 pieces. Professional series openers such as LiftMaster will include long one-piece rails that are solid steel and are capable of lifting more weight. The shape can be a “T-rail” configuration, or the more hefty “I-beam” rail used for lifting heavier wooden, insulated, or oversized garage doors.
  7. Keypad: A keypad is a great option for opening your door when a remote is not in hand, and you are already out of your vehicle. This option is also great for Liftmaster Keypadallowing children to enter the house after school using their 4 digit code, or for letting repairmen into the house to do some work. Generally speaking, the security in using a keypad is considered fairly high as long as you conceal the use of your code, and do not write it down on the cover etc.
  8. Horsepower: The most common motor sizes are 1/3 hp, ½ hp, ¾ hp, and just over 1 hp. 1/3 hp units are good for most small single car doors. ½ and ¾ hp units are good for most 16 ft wide doors. Typically, there is not a need to buy an opener motor that is oversized for your door. Even the stronger ¾ hp units have the force setting dialed down, so that it never really puts out a true ¾ hp. A garage door opener with a stronger rail, is actually preferred for smooth operation, over having a stronger motor. The force control on a garage door should always be adjusted to power the door at the most minimal setting possible- during normal operations.

OPTIONAL FEATURES-

LiftMaster 8550

It is important to take a look at optional features sold with certain packages to make sure that items you are needing are included. Higher end packages will offer more in the box such as a second remote and wireless keypad. Usually the more expensive packages are actually the best value. At times, you may see a garage door unit offered for sale in the Houston area sale for what appears to be a discounted price, but upon further inspection, you will notice that it only comes with one remote control and nothing more.

WHERE TO BUY-

You can purchase a garage door opener from a local Houston garage door supplier such as Parts 4 Garage Doors, The Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Sams, Costco, Ace Hardware, online, and through a service company such as Spectrum Overhead Door. You will find most of the pricing to be similar and competitive between the big box retailers. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales to save a little bit of money.  Most suppliers will carry a handful of the most popular manufacturers and models available. If you are interested in a professional series unit, that is a bit heftier and more reliable for the long term, then it would be recommended to speak to a garage door service company. If you are in the Houston area you speak to a Houston garage door opener installation company like Spectrum Overhead Door LLC  that is authorized to sell LiftMaster professional products. 

KEY QUESTIONS- 

It is important to ask yourself the following questions: What is my budget? How heavy is my garage door? What features are the most important to me? How long do I want my unit to last? Will I be hiring a garage door service company, or installing the unit myself? Answering these key questions, and utilizing the information above, will help narrow down the right garage door opener unit for your needs.

Spectrum Overhead Door LogoHopefully, the information supplied here has been helpful in deciding what is the best garage door opener for you.

Spectrum Overhead Door of Houston has been installing garage door openers since 2006 with award-winning service. Looking to install a new garage door opener? Call us at 281-748-9542. or 713-557-3407 for a free quote or book your appointment today. Same-day appointments are available!

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5 holiday decorating ideas for your garage door

5 holiday decorating ideas for your garage door

The holidays are a perfect time of here to have fun, and decorate the home in the spirit of the season. You also can’t forget the garage! The garage door is a perfect place to show off some holiday spirit! Here are 5 holiday decorating ideas for your garage door.

Ribbon & Bow

Make your garage door look like a giant present by adding a big bow and ribbon. They can come as magnetic sheeting that just sticks onto your garage door.  You can find them at places like https://www.garagebow.com/?v=7516fd43adaa. The benefit to the idea is it is easy to both install and uninstall after the holidays, so makes your work much easier.

Light projections

Light projection machines create shapes and dancing lights on your garage door. Many light projection machines include timing options, programmable light patterns, and use LED lights for brightness and energy efficiency. You can get real creative with this idea, from simple lights or moving lights to project scenes like the nativity scene on your garage door. You could even go so far as syncing up your favorite holiday music, creating small digital production on your garage door.

Paint Murals on your Garage Door Windows.

Using water-based paint like acrylic craft paints, you can create a lovely scene on your garage door window. You can paint holiday tress limbs, poinsettias or even a snowman. There are also water-based frost paint where you can make your garage door widows look frosted on the outside.

Decorations on Each Side – Framing Your Garage Door.

On each side of the garage door, you could place Christmas trees, boxes made to look like presents, sleds etc. to frame up your garage door and create an inviting scene.

Traditional and classy, lights and wreath.

For a traditional and classy approach, wrap a garland in lights, and attach the garland around the garage door frame. Outline your garage door with twinkling lights giving a festive look.

Quick Considerations When Decorating Your Garage Door

When placing items on the garage door itself, make sure that the door can easily raise and lower without obstruction. So you want to make sure any items on the garage door itself are thin. This is why if you use a wreath, it should be on the frame, not the door.

If you place any decorations on the garage door itself, make sure they are light weight. You don’t want to add a lot of weight to the door itself and make the garage door opener work harder.

If you choose to use anything with adhesive or paint, make sure it is water sailable and can wash off. Avoid adhesives or other materials that will damage the surface of the garage door.

A big blank surface such as your garage door is a perfect blank canvas for holiday decorating.  These are just 5 decorating ideas for your garage door., but please, let your imagination have some fun with this. You could even combine ideas such as frost the windows and have a ribbon and bow! Happy holidays and Merry Christmas from Spectrum Overhead Door LLC.

Contact Us About Your Garage Door Issues and Get a FREE Quote Today :

 

 

Insulated Garage Door – Have a Cooler Houston Home

Hot Houston Sun

 

The heat and humidity of our Houston summer is just around the corner. Wouldn’t it be nice to save money on that AC bill, and bring the temperature down to a more tolerable level when you step out of your car and into the garage? There is a solution, and it just might be more affordable than you would think!

 

THE PROBLEM:

CompassHave you ever considered what direction your garage door is facing? Is your garage attached or detached from the house? If your garage door is facing South or West- then your garage is being subjected to the afternoon sun and heat. Temperatures in a garage can easily exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty hot! That kind of heat can take it’s toll on your vehicle, items stored in the garage, and electronics.

Standard garage doors have one thin sheet of steel that will actually radiate the sun’s heat inward. For attached garages, poorly insulated walls and ceiling, will allow this excessive heat to penetrate into the air conditioned areas of your home, causing your AC unit(s) to work Man cave in Houstonharder, and your monthly bill to increase.

Garage doors that face North or South tend to be cooler than other orientations by 5 to 10 degrees. Garages that are detached from the house obviously will not affect your energy bill. You still may be in need of a better solution, even in this case, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time in the garage, plan on having a game room, man cave, bonus room, or air conditioned space.

 

THE SOLUTION:

Insulated Garage DoorsAn insulated garage door is a great solution to many of the above problems! It is like adding a fourth wall to your garage space. Instead of radiating heat inward, an insulated garage door will block the majority of the heat from penetrating.

Not all insulated garage doors are created equal. There are after market foam kits, custom sheets cut into place and glued, soft vinyl back insulated, rigid steel back insulated, polystyrene, and polyurethane filled garage doors. You will see some improvement by adding a DIY insulation kit to your existing door, but for the best results- panels that are pre insulated by the manufacturer work best.

There is a way to measure the effectiveness of the insulation, through R-value rating. R-value refers to a standard of measuring the thermal resistance of various construction materials. The higher the value, the more effective at blocking heat penetration.

Polystyrene insulated garage doors are an affordable solution for many homes. The R- value of these doors ranges from R8 to R10.

Polyurethane insulated garage doors are more expensive, but still a great value for the increased energy efficiency they can provide. The R- value of these doors ranges from R13 to R17. These doors are essentially a fourth wall to your garage!

 

OTHER BENEFITS:

As if saving money on your monthly energy bill isn’t enough, there are a few other benefits for installing an insulated garage door.Save Money in Houston

  1. Saves money– as discussed, the cooler the garage space, the less heat will penetrate into your home.
  2. Security– steelback insulated garage doors are much more sturdy and much more difficult for a thief to breach.
  3. Storm Safety– the extra weight and rigidity of a steelback insulated garage door will help protect your home and valuables from storm winds, and even flood waters in some cases.
  4. Quiet Performance– steelback insulated garage doors are much less creaky during day to day operation due to their rigid nature.
  5. Longevity– steelback insulated garage doors are far less likely to dent, tear, or, bend. They tend to outperform and outlast hollowback garage doors by 10 years or more on average.

 

CONCLUSION:

If you are replacing a garage door, then you should seriously consider choosing an insulated garage door for all of the benefits that you will enjoy. Your standard hollowback garage door will not last as long, and depreciates in value quickly. Insulated garage doors actually save you money over time on cooling costs, therefore they will continue to deliver value month after month.

 

EXAMPLES:

Wood Tones Long Panel Polyurethane Insulated Garage Door CHI Model 5916

Raised Panel Standard Stamped Polystyrene Insulated Garage Door by CHI

 

WHAT GARAGE DOOR REPAIR COMPANY IN HOUSTON SHOULD I CHOOSE?

Spectrum Overhead Door LogoSpectrum Overhead Door LLC has been serving the greater Houston area since 2006, and would be happy to give you a FREE ESTIMATE and FREE CONSULTATION.

Call us today, and our friendly office staff will answer any questions that you may have!

 

CALL 281-748-9542 

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